In an email to political supporters Monday, First Lady Casey DeSantis condemned a “disgraceful attack” on her husband by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried.
DeSantis was referring to a radio interview last week in which Agriculture Commissioner Fried compared Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler.
Fried’s comments, made on Florida NPR stations Friday, have become global news since, with Mrs. DeSantis the latest in the Governor’s orbit to go on the offensive against Fried.
“Just this weekend, Florida Democrats compared Gov. DeSantis to Hitler. This comparison is repulsive, offensive, and minimizes Hitler’s evil crimes against humanity,” the First Lady wrote.
In an interview that aired Friday on the Florida Roundup radio program, Fried compared the Governor to the German dictator.
“Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he’s trying to govern over the people. And that, I’m sorry, I’m a student of history too. I saw the rise of Hitler. I learned those stories,” Fried said.
When asked if she was comparing DeSantis to Hitler, Fried stood her ground.
“In a lot of ways, yes,” Fried told interviewer Melissa Ross. “I have studied Hitler and how he got to power. Wanting his own militia. Having his own army.”
“Do I think that we’re going to get to the extent of Hitler’s power? Of course not. But the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts, especially the Jewish community in Germany, and how he utilized going after the media, going after and scapegoating people and blaming people and putting fear and taking over the military, that’s what this Governor is doing,” Fried added.
Fried’s comments got a swift rebuke from the Governor’s Office Friday.
“If we had an honest media instead of DNC stenographers, reporters would be criticizing Nikki Fried‘s dishonest and offensive claim that Gov. DeSantis is the modern Hitler. Such a comparison trivializes Hitler’s crimes against humanity. This is not funny, it’s sick,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted.
Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez on Sunday called the comparison “despicable” and said “if it wasn’t so sad, it would be laughable.”
“What we’ve seen in terms of her reference is that she is no student of history. Because Gov. DeSantis has stood strong on the side of freedom. He’s protected people’s liberties throughout this entire pandemic,” Núñez said on “Fox and Friends.”
“And as it relates to our stands, Gov. DeSantis is the most pro-Israel governor in America. He has dedicated historic funding to protect Jewish day schools. He has fought the BDS movement, and made sure companies like Ben & Jerry’s are held accountable. And he’s prioritized Holocaust survivors throughout this entire pandemic,” Nuñez added.
“I don’t know what reference she’s referring to as it relates to Hitler, but it is a despicable reference, and it is sad,” Nuñez said. “Nikki, shame on you.”
Fried’s comments have gotten national pushback as well.
“Given the lack of class in every aspect of her life and political rhetoric, it should come as no surprise Nikki Fried is willing to stoop this low to remain relevant,” said Republican Governors’ Association spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. “To invoke murderers like Hitler and Fidel Castro as a comparison to any elected official is disgusting and out of line. Florida Democrats up and down the ballot should condemn her rhetoric and call on Fried to do better and stop disgracing her office.”